Best Multimeter for Industrial Maintenance

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Are you looking for a multimeter that can withstand electrical transients from industrial equipment while letting you measure multiple electronic parameters accurately? Here are three top-rated multimeters that would enhance your convenience, safety, and accuracy.

Before compiling this list, I tested ten units and then settled on Fluke 117, Klein Tools MM400, and AstroAI Digital as the absolute best.

Testing and Selecting the Best Multimeters for Industrial Use

As an electrician with 13 years of experience, I have used different multimeter brands to install, inspect, repair, and maintain electrical systems. I started reviewing these gadgets to help other professionals pick the suitable multimeter for the task at hand.

To make this list, I selected five professional-grade multimeters with excellent ratings on Amazon. I used each to fault-check lighting equipment, electric motors, wiring, switch gears, fuse boxes, and transistors in my current workplace, a mid-size manufacturing company.

I settled on the top three multimeters with the highest accuracy score, the ability to withstand high electrical transients, and rugged construction that can last long. The top picks can measure all the basic electrical parameters.
Of the five multimeters tested, Fluke 117 took the top slot. This multimeter boasts a True RMS, an ergonomic design, a non-contact voltage capability, a large backlit screen, and a CAT III rating of 600 volts.

Following is a comprehensive review showing how the top three multimeters performed in my test. Read on to invest in your most suitable multimeter.

Best Overall

Fluke 117 Digital Multimeter

Fluke 117 is a multimeter for professionals who want a unit that offers excellent safety, first-rate accuracy, and all-around performance. This heavy-duty multimeter can troubleshoot almost all electrical parameters like current, voltage, resistance, temperature diode, and capacitance. Some noteworthy features that ranked Fluke 117 on top of its rivals tested include:

An Outstanding Build Quality

At first glance, anyone can tell that Fluke 117 was designed to endure heavy use for a long time. It comes encased in a yellow rubber sleeve which absorbs the impact from accidental falls, which is quite common at the job site.

Besides cushioning, the rubber sleeve enhances your grip when working with wet or oily hands. The multimeter’s test probe cables flex smoothly to minimize the chances of breaking, nicking, or cracking when twisted and bent regularly.

Ergonomic Design

Fluke 117 features a flip-up stand and magnetic hanger to free up your hands when testing electrical components. Its buttons and dial selector are strategically positioned for easy accessibility. I could access both with my thumb.

Reading values on Fluke 117 was super easy, even when working in poorly lit settings. Thanks to the multimeter’s large backlit display screen.

Non-contact voltage

Another great feature I liked on Fluke 117 is the VoltAlert technology, a groundbreaking feature that detects voltage without contact. It enhances a user’s safety by eliminating the need to touch live wires and energized circuits. Besides safety, the VoltAlert technology came in handy when testing hot wires concealed in conduits, walls, and other hard-to-reach places.

Higher Accuracy

During the testing process, most readings recorded by the Fluke 117 matched or deviated from the true value by +-0.5. The high accuracy is a result of the multimeter’s true RMS, a feature that measures non-sinusoidal waves with precision. In addition, Fluke 117’s accuracy results from the groundbreaking LoZ function, which eliminates false readings from ghost voltage.

Superb Safety Rating

Fluke 117 has a CAT III 600V safety rating. That means it can endure electric transients of up to 600 volts. As a bonus, this multimeter for industrial maintenance comes equipped with a high rupture fuse which blows up to disconnect high voltage from burning the multimeter’s internal components. The multimeter maintained its top performance even when used regularly to troubleshoot systems that received power from a three-phase distribution.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Easy to read screen
  • Multipurpose
  • Ergonomic design
  • Light and portable
  • Excellent battery life
  • Safe to use

Cons

  • Quite costly
  • Does not measure milli and microamps

Affordable choice

Klein Tools MM400 Multimeter Review

Klein Tools MM400 Multimeter comes advertised as a versatile multimeter designed for light industrial and household troubleshooting projects. It stands out from most multimeters because of its super-rugged construction, which can survive one-meter drops. Other great reasons why this multimeter took a top slot in this analysis include:

Easy to Use

The Klein Tools MM400 is an auto-ranging multimeter. That means it automatically selects the suitable corresponding range of the component under test. This feature eliminates the need to manually set the true values of every electrical component under test. It is excellent for beginners who are yet to master the true values of the systems under maintenance and professionals who wish to bypass the process of setting the corresponding range manually.

Rugged Build Quality

Like Fluke 117, Klein Tools MM400 comes enclosed in a plastic rubber sleeve to minimize the chances of shattering in the event of accidental drops. The rubber sleeve will absorb the drop impact even if the multimeter drops from as high as one meter. In addition to the sturdy construction, this multimeter comes with hard-wearing probe cables, which flex and bend smoothly to survive the damage associated with twisting and tangling.

Ergonomic Design

Klein Tools MM400 boasts a compact size that fits comfortably on small to large palms. Its selection dial turns effortlessly, and its buttons are rubbery, large, and equally easy to operate. Moreover, this multimeter has a flip-up kickstand to release your hands when handling probes and a large display that lets you read values with great ease even when working in dim settings.

All-in-One Functionality

Klein Tools designed this multimeter to help electricians measure a voltage of 600 volts, a current of 10 amperes, and a temperature of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, with this multimeter for industrial maintenance, professionals can test the resistance of 40 milliohms, a frequency of 50 kilohertz, and the capacitance of 200 microfarads.

True to the manufacturer’s word, we used this multimeter to fault-find all these issues. While the multimeter performed well, it experienced a lag when measuring continuity and capacitance.

CAT III Safety Rating

Klein Tools MM400 has a CAT III 600V safety rating. The multimeter can endure high transient voltage typical in industrial distribution circuits. As an extra, the Klein Tools MM400 comes equipped with a high rapture fuse for additional protection. The fuse will blow up to protect your unit from burning when subjected to a voltage above the 600V limit.

Reasonable Accuracy

With an accuracy of 98%, Klein Tools MM400’s values were almost equal to the expected true value of the electrical components we tested. Nonetheless, the values were less accurate than those I got from Fluke 117 and AstroAI digital multimeter. The low accuracy could be because Klein Tools MM400 lacked the True RMS and the LoZ functionalities. All in all, the accuracy was within the acceptable range.

Pros

  • Moderately priced
  • Accurate
  • Durable construction
  • Ergonomic design
  • Multipurpose
  • Ease to read display

Cons

  • Lacks true RMS and LoZ functions

A worthy consideration

AstroAI Digital Multimeter

The AstroAI digital multimeter stands among the cheapest multimeters for industrial maintenance. Though cheap, this multimeter was designed to enhance your accuracy, safety, and convenience in multiple ways. Some of the great features I loved on this low-cost multimeter are:

Excellent Safety Rating

The AstroAI digital multimeter has a CAT III 600V safety rating, meaning that it can handle high voltage transients without issue. In addition, this multimeter has a double ceramic fuse which offers better thermal and arc protection than the ordinary glass fuses used in cheaper multimeters. The fuse will blow up whenever you use the multimeter to test voltages higher than the recommended limit. I used to measure low to high-voltage electrical systems without experiencing an issue.

Professional Functionality

AstroAI digital multimeter has a range of features to simplify electrical troubleshooting. It has the data hold function to record values displayed on the screen and an auto shut off feature to power off the multimeter when left idle.

Also, the multimeter features the auto-ranging function, which automatically sets the corresponding range. This feature makes it an excellent option for starters who are yet to master the true values of the components under test.

Superb Accuracy

AstroAI is a true RMS meter that gives more accurate figures than ordinary RMS rivals. With the TRMS capability, this multimeter will accurately troubleshoot heat controls, speed motors, and other electrical systems characterized by impure sine waves. During the test, I realized that this multimeter’s values were as accurate as those of the high-end rival, the Fluke 117 multimeter.

Multipurpose Functionality

This AstroAI multimeter is an all-rounder. You can use it to measure a voltage of 600V, a temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius, and a current of 10 amperes. Furthermore, you can use this multimeter to troubleshoot a capacitance of 4000 millifarads, a resistance of 60 milliohms, and a frequency of 9.99 megahertz. With this meter, you will not need to invest in additional tools like testers.

Ergonomic Design

The AstroAI multimeter was built with your convenience in mind. It features large buttons for easy access and a smoothly moving rotary switch to help you select measurement values easily. Furthermore, this low-cost multimeter from AstroAI has a kickstand and a magnetic hanger to free up your hands and a large backlit screen for hassle-free reading.

Nonetheless, I noticed that the magnetic hanger could not attach firmly to metallic surfaces, a letdown for users working in a setting where it is impractical to use the flip-up stand.

Pros

  • User friendly
  • Inexpensive
  • Multipurpose capability
  • Large backlit screen
  • Accurate
  • Ergonomically designed

Cons

  • Quite flimsy
  • Weak magnetic hanger

Conclusion—what is the Best Multimeter for Industrial Maintenance?

A good multimeter for industrial maintenance should have three basics. One, it should measure a range of electrical parameters, including voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, frequency, diode, and continuity. Two, it should be safe enough to measure high transients, a characteristic that is typical in industrial electronics and systems. Probably, the multimeter should have a CAT III or CAT IV rating. Three, a good multimeter for industrial use should be rugged enough to withstand everyday wear and tear.

If you are yet to make your purchasing decision, I suggest Fluke 117, a premium-grade multimeter with first-rate build quality, accuracy, and ergonomics. However, if Fluke 117 is above your budget, settle for Klein Tools MM400 or AstroAI digital multimeter. They will offer similar functionality as Fluke, except for a few downsides.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I choose a good multimeter for industrial maintenance?

A good multimeter for industrial maintenance should have the ability to measure voltage, resistance, frequency, diode, capacitance, current, and other vital electrical parameters. The all-around capability will save you the hassle of investing in multiple testers. The multimeter should also be accurate enough to reduce the chances of taking erroneous readings and safe to handle high voltage transients. If you used the multimeter regularly, it would matter to shop around for a rugged unit that can endure normal wear for a reasonable number of years. 

  • What is the best multimeter brand?

While several companies make suitable multimeters for home and industrial use, Fluke tends to be a favorite for many electricians. Multimeters from this company have a rugged construction that can take heavy use and an excellent safety rating, making them ideal for home and industrial use. As well, the multimeters from Fluke are accurate and versatile. You can use them to measure all electronic parameters, including voltage, current, capacitance, and resistance. 

  • Do I need a True RMS multimeter for industrial maintenance?

Having a true RMS capability is not a necessity. However, a true RMS multimeter would be suitable if you deal with AC signals that are not pure sine waves. Using an ordinary RMS multimeter will measure the waves with an accuracy you would not achieve. 

  • Should I buy an analog or a digital multimeter for industrial maintenance?

Both digital and analog multimeters are great for electrical troubleshooting. Nevertheless, an excellent digital multimeter would be an excellent choice for industrial maintenance. The digital multimeters were designed to simplify and expedite the fault-finding process. It will save you the time to set the corresponding range and read values indicated on an analog screen. 

Toby Ashby

I am an automotive specialist with over 20 years of experience in and around electronics